With a commitment to help and to empower the community, FWAF established a presence in the area and opened the Homestead/Florida City office in 1992. Since that time, the Homestead office staff and community leaders have been conducting pesticide health and safety trainings with farmworkers, assisted with immigration papers and issues, fought cases of wage theft and advocated for programs for farmworker children in the community of Redlands, among many other activities and actions. FWAF was instrumental in the development of Everglades City, a farmworker housing community, and opened and operated an ethnic food store for the community there for many years.
Most recently, a talented community member painted the beautiful and powerful mural on the side of the two-story office building that houses FWAF. A source of pride and empowerment for the community, the mural serves as a reminder of the importance and the dignity of the work and the workers in the farm fields where our food is grown.
Prior to Hurricane Andrew, the main crops in the Homestead area were vegetables and citrus. In the aftermath of the hurricane, these crops were re-established, but the community saw growing urbanization of the area as growth swept in from Miami to the south. The vegetable fields and citrus groves were beginning to convert to ornamental plant nurseries that supplied the growing demand for landscape and indoor foliage plants that the new developments demanded. Today, while vegetables, such as okra, peppers, eggplant and melons continue to be grown in the Homestead and Florida City areas, greenhouses and plant nurseries increasingly dominate the landscape.
The farmworker community in Homestead/Florida City is largely Latino, with an increasing number of workers from Haiti and other Caribbean nations.
The Women’s Project was started several years ago to bring the women in Homestead together to create a Women’s Arts and Crafts Cooperative. Women are sewing, knitting, crocheting, and doing beadwork that they make for their families and plan to sell to the public. This project has brought the women together into circle that has been creatively satisfying, bonding, and empowering.